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Chinese foreign minister likely to visit Nepal this month

China Foreign Minister Wang Yi is expected to visit Nepal this month which would be the first high-level visit between the two countries since the change of the government in Kathmandu last year. Significantly, this will come a few weeks after the Nepali Parliament ratified a US aid program

Mar 11, 2022
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China Foreign Minister Wang Yi

China Foreign Minister Wang Yi is expected to visit Nepal this month which would be the first high-level visit between the two countries since the change of the government in Kathmandu last year. Significantly, this will come a few weeks after the Nepali Parliament ratified a US aid program.

Ever since Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba of the Nepali Congress took office in Nepal, no high-level meetings between the two countries have taken place. Narayan Khadka, Nepal’s Foreign Minister, was scheduled to visit China last year; but the visit failed to materialize as there was no flight connectivity between the two countries in the wake of the Covid restrictions.

Other senior Chinese officials, including Wang, Song Tao, the head of the International Liaison Department of the Chinese Communist Party, would be part of the delegation headed by Wang, reported The Kathmandu Post.

Importantly, the visit will be significant as it is coming a few weeks after the Nepali Parliament ratified the MCC, a $500 million US grant program, which Beijing reportedly remains wary of.

China-leaning communist parties in Nepal were initially resisting the ratification of the US aid program and only relented after the US warned senior Nepali leaders of repercussions on the bilateral ties with Washington. Signed in 2017, the MCC-Nepal compact was ratified on 27 February this year.

In the weeks leading to the MCC ratification, China issued three statements on the MCC, criticizing the US for what it says “coercive diplomacy”. When the MCC ratification was adopted, Beijing said it "noted" the development.

“Beijing also wants to gauge if the American grant’s implementation could affect its security and strategic concerns and it also sees an opportunity to push its Belt and Road Initiative which Nepal signed up to in 2017, according to them,” reported The Kathmandu Post, citing senior Nepali officials.

Global Times, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, and China Times in their recent editorials also warned against the “risks” that come with the US aid program.

Significantly, the $500 million grant under the aid program will be used in the development of the high-capacity transmission lines in Nepal, which will help it to export its excess electricity to neighboring India and Bangladesh.

(SAM)

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